By Sarah French.
Bouncy blues-rock tunes, twisty harmonica instrumentals, and sweet, sensitive songs all sit comfortably side by side on Rocket Ride, the new album from Toronto’s Broke Fuse.
The release of Rocket Ride comes exactly one year after 2020’s Why Should I Be Blue? Like its predecessor, the new album was recorded at the home studio of Jay Moonah, the man behind Broke Fuse, with remote contributions from a variety of musicians. This approach, necessitated by the ongoing health emergency, proved extremely successful the first time out: Why Should I Be Blue? garnered stellar reviews and airplay from across the globe, as well as two Independent Blues Award nominations. In July 2020, the album reached #1 on the Roots Music Report Canadian album chart.
For Rocket Ride, Moonah was determined to lean further into the sonic diversity of the previous album. “I wanted to bring more rock’n’roll energy, but also try some different things and take some risks,” he says. “My own tastes are pretty broad, so with the blues as a foundation I wanted to see how far I could take the music in different directions.”
That approach led to dynamic songs including the title track, “One Shot”, “I Don’t Care”, and “The Ballad of Sonny Shade” sharing space with more introspective offerings such as “Strawberry Moon” and “Hear The Rain”. A multi-instrumentalist who has long been recognized on the Toronto music scene as a blues harp ace, Moonah also stretches out on three harmonica instrumentals, (“The Stephenson Swamp Stomp”, “Agitation”, and “Los Detalles del Diablo”) each in a different style. “Yeah I do like to try different things,” he laughs. “The instrumentals in particular kind of go from acoustic blues to progressive rock to my take on Latin music. They were great fun to put together, as was the whole album.”
The title track features contributions from two Toronto music legends: Debbie Fleming (renowned singer and veteran of a variety of groups including vocal jazz act Hampton Avenue) and guitarist Mike McKenna (McKenna Mendelson Mainline, Luke and the Apostles, and many others), both of whom also play along with Moonah in the rockabilly band the Rockin’ Redcoats. “Debbie and Mike are great friends and such amazing musicians,” says Moonah. “It’s always a treat to collaborate with them, and they each bring something really special to ‘Rocket Ride’ in particular.” The song also features a creative video incorporating historical NASA footage. “When I was a young kid I wanted to be an astronaut – until I realized how much work it was,” chuckles Moonah. “But I’m still fascinated by the space program and science in general. I guess this video is the closest I’ll get to that childhood dream, and I’m okay with that!”
The album also features keyboardists Eric Lambier and Matthew Bartram, guitarists Paul Butters and Alex Matthew, and singers Sheila McGovern, Chris Patheiger, Neil Bennett, and wife Karen Moonah. The cover was designed by noted Prince Edward County artist Milé Murtanovski, with photography by Jay and Karen’s daughter Macy Moonah.
Rocket Ride will be available on digital platforms on Friday, June 25, 2021, and a Zoom release party, hosted by Vonage co-founder and music lover/supporter Jeff Pulver, will be held Sunday June 27 at 4 pm Eastern .
Apple Music: music.apple.com/us/artist/broke-fuse